This year Penguin Young Readers and the Roald Dahl Literary Estate are celebrating 100 years since the birth of Roald Dahl —the world’s number one storyteller.
2016 marks 100 years since the birth of Roald Dahl, the author of beloved stories such as Matilda, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and The BFG. Two of Roald Dahl’s most popular novels, James and the Giant Peach and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, were written while Roald Dahl lived in the U.S. and were inspired by American culture—finding success here first before going on to become global bestsellers. Today, Roald Dahl’s stories are available in 58 languages and he has sold more than 200 million books with many of these stories having also been adapted for screen and stage.
As part of the celebrations, Penguin Young Readers has released Roald Dahl’s most beloved titles with all new covers! And I have the honor of featuring the brand new cover of Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator.
Author: Roald Dahl
Series: Charlie Bucket #2
Publication Date: February 11, 2016
Synopsis: WHOOSH! Inside the Great Glass Elevator, Willy Wonka, Charlie Bucket and his family are cruising a thousand feet above the chocolate factory.
They can see the whole world below them, but they're not alone. The American Space Hotel has just launched. Lurking inside are the Vernicious Knids - the most brutal, vindictive murderous beasts in the universe.
So grab your gizzard! Hold your hats! Only Charlie and Willy Wonka can stop the Knids from destroying everything!
1 - Mr. Wonka Goes Too Far
The last time we saw Charlie, he was riding high above his home town in the Great Glass Elevator. Only a short while before, Mr. Wonka had told him that the whole gigantic fabulous Chocolate Factory was his, and now our small friend was returning in triumph with his entire family to take over. The passengers in the Elevator (just to remind you) were:
Mr. Willy Wonka,
Mr. and Mrs. Bucket,
Charlie’s father and mother.
Grandpa Joe and Grandma Josephine,
Mr. Bucket’s father and mother.
Grandpa George and Grandma Georgina,
Mrs. Bucket’s father and mother.
Grandma Josephine, Grandma Georgina and Grandpa George were still in bed, the bed having been pushed on board just before take off. Grandpa Joe, as you remember, had gotten out of bed to go around the Chocolate Factory with Charlie.
The Great Glass Elevator was a thousand feet up and cruising nicely. The sky was a brilliant blue. Everybody on board was wildly excited at the thought of going to live in the famous Chocolate Factory. Grandpa Joe was singing. Charlie was jumping up and down. Mr. and Mrs. Bucket were smiling for the first time in years, and the three old ones in the bed were grinning at one another with pink toothless gums.
“What in the world keeps this thing up in the air?” croaked Grandma Josephine.
“Skyhooks,” said Mr. Wonka.
“You amaze me,” said Grandma Josephine.
“Dear lady,” said Mr. Wonka, “you are new to the scene. When you have been with us a little longer, nothing will amaze you.”
“These skyhooks,” said Grandma Josephine. “I assume one end is hooked onto this contraption we’re riding in. Right?”
“Right,” said Mr. Wonka.
“What’s the other end hooked onto?” said Grandma Josephine.
“Every day,” said Mr. Wonka, “I get deafer and deafer. Remind me, please, to call up my ear doctor the moment we get back.”
“Charlie,” said Grandma Josephine. “I don’t think I trust this gentleman very much.”
“Nor do I,” said Grandma Georgina. “He footless around.”
Charlie leaned over the bed and whispered to the two old women. “Please,” he said, “don’t spoil everything. Mr. Wonka is a fantastic man. He’s my friend. I love him.”
“Charlie’s right,” whispered Grandpa Joe, joining the group. “Now you be quiet, Josie, and don’t make trouble.”
“We must hurry!” said Mr. Wonka. “We have so much time and so little to do! No! Wait! Strike that! Reverse it Thank you! Now back to the factory!” he cried, clapping his hands once and springing two feet in the air with two feet. “Back we fly to the factory! But we must go up before we can come down! We must go higher and higher!”
“What did I tell you!” said Grandma Josephine. “The man’s cracked!”
“Be quiet, Josie,” said Grandpa Joe. “Mr. Wonka knows exactly what he’s doing.”
“He’s cracked as a crab!” said Grandma Georgina.
“We must go higher!” said Mr. Wonka. “We must go tremendously high! Hold onto your stomachs!” He pressed a brown button. The Elevator shuddered, and then with a fearful whooshing noise it shot vertically upward like a rocket. Everybody clutched hold of everybody else and as the great machine gathered speed, the rushing whooshing sound of the wind outside grew louder and louder and shriller and shriller until it became a piercing shriek and you had to yell to make yourself heard.
“Stop!” yelled Grandma Josephine. “Joe, you make him stop! I want to get off!”
“Save us!” yelled Grandma Georgina.
“Go down!” yelled Grandpa George.
“No, no!” Mr. Wonka yelled back. “We’ve got to go up!”
“But why?” they all shouted at once. “Why up and not down?”
“Because the higher we are when we start coming down, the faster we’ll be going when we hit,” said Mr. Wonka. “We’ve got to be going at an absolutely sizzling speed when we hit!”
“When we hit what?” they cried
“The factory, of course,” answered Mr. Wonka.
“You must be whackers!” said Grandma Josephine. “We’ll all be pulpified!”
“We’ll be scrambled like eggs!” said Grandma Georgina.
“That,” said Mr. Wonka, “is a chance we shall have to take.”
“You’re joking,” said Grandma Josephine. “Tell us you’re joking.”
“Madam,” said Mr. Wonka, “I never joke.”
“Oh, my dears!” cried Grandma Georgina. “We’ll be lixivated, every one of us!”
“More than likely,” said Mr. Wonka.
Grandma Josephine screamed and disappeared under the bedclothes. Grandma Georgina clutched Grandpa George so tight he changed shape. Mr. and Mrs. Bucket stood hugging each other, speechless with fright. Only Charlie and Grandpa Joe kept moderately cool. They had traveled a long way with Mr. Wonka and had grown accustomed to surprises. But as the Great Elevator continued to streak upward, farther and farther away from the earth, even Charlie began to feel a trifle nervous. “Mr. Wonka!” he yelled above the noise. “What I don’t understand is why we’ve got to come down at such a terrific speed.”
“My dear boy,” Mr. Wonka answered, “if we don’t come down at a terrific speed, we’ll never burst our way back in through the roof of the factory. It’s not easy to punch a hole in a roof as strong as that.”
“But there’s a hole in it already,” said Charlie. “We made it when we came out.”
“Then we shall make another,” said Mr. Wonka. “Two holes are better than one. Any mouse will tell you that.”
Higher and higher rushed the Great Glass Elevator until soon they could see the countries and oceans of the earth spread out below them like a map. It was all very beautiful, but when you are standing on a glass floor looking down, it gives you a nasty feeling. Even Charlie was beginning to feel frightened now. He hung on tightly to Grandpa Joe’s hand and looked up anxiously into the old man’s face. “I’m scared, Grandpa,” he said.
Grandpa Joe put an arm around Charlie’s shoulders and held him close. “So am I, Charlie,” he said.
“Mr. Wonka!” Charlie shouted. “Don’t you think this is about high enough?”
“Very nearly,” Mr. Wonka answered. “But not quite. Don’t talk to me now, please. Don’t disturb me. I must watch things very carefully at this stage. Split-second timing, my boy, that’s what it’s got to be. You see this green button. I must press it at exactly the right instant. If I’m just half a second late, then we’ll go too high!”
“What happens if we go too high?” asked Grandpa Joe.
“Do please stop talking and let me concentrate!” Mr. Wonka said.
At that precise moment, Grandma Josephine poked her head out from under the sheets and peered over the edge of the bed. Through the glass floor she saw the entire continent of North America nearly two hundred miles below and looking no bigger than a piece of candy. “Someone’s got to stop this maniac,” she screeched, and she shot out a wrinkled old hand and grabbed Mr. Wonka by the coattails and yanked him backward onto the bed.
“No, no,” cried Mr. Wonka, struggling to free himself. “Let me go! I have things to see to! Don’t disturb the pilot!”
“You madman,” shrieked Grandma Josephine, shaking Mr. Wonka so fast that his head became a blur. “You get us back home this instant!”
“Let me go!” cried Mr. Wonka. “I’ve got to press that button or we’ll go too high! Let me go! Let me go!” But Grandma Josephine hung on. “Charlie!” shouted Mr. Wonka. “Press the button! The green one! Quick, quick, quick!”
Charlie leaped across the Elevator and banged his thumb down on the green button. But as he did so, the Elevator gave a mighty groan and rolled over onto its side, and the rushing whooshing noise stopped altogether and an eerie silence took its place.
“Too late!” cried Mr. Wonka. “Oh, my goodness me, we’re cooked!” As he spoke, the bed with the three old ones in it and Mr. Wonka on top lifted gently off the floor and hung suspended in mid-air. Charlie and Grandpa Joe and Mr. and Mrs. Bucket also floated upward so that in a twink the entire company, as well as the bed, were floating around like balloons inside the Great Glass Elevator.
“Now look what you’ve done!” said Mr. Wonka, floating about.
“What happened?” Grandma Josephine called out. She had floated clear of the bed and was hovering near the ceiling in her nightshirt.
“Did we go too far?” Charlie asked.
“Too far?” cried Mr. Wonka. “I’ll say we went too far! You know where we’ve gone, my friends? We’ve gone into orbit!”
They gaped, they gasped, they stared. They were too flabbergasted to speak.
“We are now rushing around the earth at seventeen thousand miles an hour,” Mr. Wonka said. “How does that grab you?”
“I’m choking!” gasped Grandma Georgina. “I can’t breathe!”
“Of course you can’t,” said Mr. Wonka. “There’s no air up here.” He sort of swam across under the ceiling to a button marked OXYGEN. He pressed it. “You’ll be all right now,” he said. “Breathe away.”
“This is the queerest feeling,” Charlie said, swimming about. “I feel like a bubble.”
“It’s great,” said Grandpa Joe. “It feels as though I don’t weigh anything at all.”
“You don’t,” said Mr. Wonka. “None of us weighs anything—not even one ounce.”
“What piffle!” said Grandma Georgina. “I weigh eighty-seven pounds exactly.”
“Not now you don’t,” said Mr. Wonka. “You are completely weightless.”
The three old ones, Grandpa George, Grandma Georgina and Grandma Josephine were trying frantically to get back into the bed, but without success. The bed was floating about in mid-air. They, of course, were also floating, and every time they got above the bed and tried to lie down, they simply floated up out of it. Charlie and Grandpa Joe were hooting with laughter. “What’s so funny?” said Grandma Josephine.
“We’ve got you out of bed at last,” said Grandpa Joe.
“Shut up and help us back!” snapped Grandma Josephine.
“Forget it,” said Mr. Wonka. “You’ll never stay down. Just keep floating around and be happy.”
“The man’s a madman!” cried Grandma Georgina. “Watch out, I say, or he’ll lixivate the lot of us!”
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